Release Date: August 4, 1999
Alternative Press Review
A.A.L. Press, POB 4710, Arlington, VA 22204
Phone: (703) 553-2945; Press Contact: Jason McQuinn

Mainstream Media Shills For NATO

Editorial, Alternative Press Review

The mainstream U.S. media often pride themselves on their "freedom" from any substantive restraints on their ability to let North Americans know what is happening throughout the world. Indeed, mainstream U.S. journalists are quick to point out when media in other nations merely parrot ruling party lines, often making accusations of "propaganda" whenever their "news" contradicts our "news." Yet, the idea that the mainstream U.S. media remain willing slaves to their Washington and corporate masters is nowhere more obvious than in their celebrations of death and destruction rained down upon official U.S. enemies in times of war.

Even while U.S. bombing continues to devastate Iraq--with the blessings of the U.S. media--in a nearly decade-long campaign of war and sanctions (which has resulted in the deaths of well over a million human beings, including about 750,000 children), these same media have also become cheerleaders for the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

Just as foreign media often spout propaganda which favors their own governments while demonizing the enemies of those governments, mainstream U.S. media predominantly take their cues from the ruling U.S. administration and from major corporate interests. The propaganda battle over Kosovo is just one more in an endless line of examples in which this rule is confirmed.

Propaganda, foreign and domestic, achieves its great effectiveness through several techniques, but primarily through a decontextualization of conflicts in which the favored party is portrayed positively and its "enemies" are portrayed negatively--at the same time in which large portions of the history and meanings of these conflicts are intentionally forgotten or obscured. Propaganda, disguised as "news," is always framed within the terms of the favored party's perspective, and nearly everything is interpreted through this inverting lens. The favored party's statements are almost always allowed to stand at face value, with little or no questioning, while statements from the "enemy" face intense skepticism, questioning or even outright disbelief. The interests, goals and values of the favored party are automatically assumed to be valid and correct, while those of the "enemy" are routinely considered invalid, corrupt or evil. Examples and stories supporting the interests of the favored party are sought out, dramatized and repeated over and over, while any counterexamples or contrasting stories are ignored, glossed over, or (when they just can't be ignored) reinterpreted in ways which minimize their impact. And perhaps most powerfully of all, the history leading up to the development of complex conflicts is selectively forgotten, rewritten and falsified. This is how propaganda functions in foreign nations. And this is how propaganda continues to flourish in U.S. media.

But people don't always believe propaganda. Some people are naturally skeptical. Others have learned from past experience that all governments and all major corporations tell lies whenever it is convenient or profitable for them to do so (which can often be most of the time). They are people just like you, people who want to know more the world than their governments, and state or corporate media, want them to know.

So what exactly is missing from the current mainstream U.S. media coverage of the NATO war against Yugoslavia? Just ask yourself why it is that the mainstream media provide so little information about the following questions (when they aren't actively trying to evade them)?

+ What is the relevant history of the conflict between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbs, including the history of Muslim/Christian conflicts in the Balkans?
+ What is the relevant history of "ethnic cleansing," including its practice by all sides in the NATO/Yugoslav war, especially the notorious history of the U.S. extermination of Native Americans and the German extermination of European Jews, Romanis, and others? Why is ethnic cleansing permissable when practiced by the U.S. and its client states? Why was it permissable when Croatia (with U.S. support) drove hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs out of the Krajina region not that long ago?
+ What are the real geopolitical and economic interests of the dominant countries driving the NATO bombing, the U.S. and Germany? What is the relationship of NATO's expanding role to the decline of the United Nations and of international law?
+ What role did the IMF, the World Bank, Germany and the U.S. play in the break-up of Yugoslavia? Why did the U.S. and Germany both desire a devastating end to the multi-ethnic, socialist Yugoslav experiment?
+ What justifies the extensive bombing of civilian targets by NATO? Why does NATO refuse to take any responsibility for the death and dislocation of both Serbs and ethnic Albanians caused by its bombing campaign? Why does the U.S. media avoid explaining that NATO "cluster bombs" are actually anti-personnel weapons that are increasingly being dropped on civilian targets? Why does the mainstream media avoid any searching discussion of the U.S. use of depleted uranium ordnance against the Yugoslavs?
+ Why has the U.S. mainstream media minimized or ignored the recent indictment of President Clinton, the other heads of NATO states, and the architects of the NATO bombardment for war crimes in the World Court of Justice?
You won't find the answers to these questions in the mainstream media. You'll have to look to alternative media, and especially to the alternative press, in order to find out what is really happening in the Balkans. It's all up to you. Please keep turning these pages.

Copyright © 1999 Alternative Press Review - All Rights Reserved
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